New Bern, NC
A low owner-occupancy rate provides the foundation for enduring poverty in the Bronx. Additional elements supporting this malady include poorly constructed new housing, lack of transportation in low-income areas, loss of parkland and the hostile takeover of the Grand Concourse by the automobile.
The majority of the apartment houses in the Bronx are owned by outside interests from Riverdale, other boroughs, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and beyond. The ONLY goal of these owner’s is to maximize profit from their assets. In the 1970’s when their assets were worth very little, many of these owners opted to burn down their buildings because the fire insurance was more profitable than the rental income. The same group of people who burnt down their buildings in the 1970’s still own property in the Bronx today. They provide bare minimum maintenance of the buildings, continually increase rent, and chop up apartments to cram more tenants into buildings. If the Bronx gentrifies, the same group of owners who ran the Bronx to the ground in the 1970’s will profit from it’s renaissance having contributed nothing positive to the borough besides inflating property values and the tax roll.
Aesthetics is not the issue on the Grand Concourse. The issue is making building owner’s accountable for the level of upkeep of their buildings. It is about the city planting trees and improving the infrastructure. It is about preventing outside disinvested interests from owning property in the borough. It is about making property affordable to those who already reside and are invested in the borough in so many ways. Only those who live in the Bronx should be allowed to own in the Bronx! You cannot generate a rendering of that but I promise you it would be a beautiful thing.